NEW BOOKS

F. R. TENNANT
1922 Mind  
NEW BOOKS. 229 nothing to philosophy, should now be made tbe source par excellence of rational religion. The Index, which is specially full, extends to over 80 pages. But misprints are lamentably common. H. R. MACKIHTOSH. Studies in Christian Philotophy: The Boyle Lectures, 1920. By W. R. MATTHEWS, M.A., B.D. London : Macmillan, & Co., 1920. Pp. 228. IF this book does not make any materi<d advanoe upon the presentations of theifl'ic argument recently put forward by Profs. Ward, Pringle-Pattison
more » ... d, Pringle-Pattison and Sorley, it may be said to carry on that argument on the lines which the best forthcoming theistic philosophy hare laid down. The promise, contained in its title, to discuss the distinctively Christian type of theism, is but scantily fulfilled ; bat as further courses of Boyle Lectures are to be delivered by the author, we may expect the completion of his purpose in n later volume. The present work on ethical theism may be recommended to readers of MUTD because, unlike some essays in theological apologetic, it does not set out from presuppositions such as the philosopher would be inclined to reject as groundless. Its writer eschews the various short cuts to the establishment of theism which assume what is called ' the validity of religious experience,' and the familiar attempts to avoid in one way or another the final appeal to reason. As against the view that theology is but the formulation of religious experience, he holds that there is no such thing as religious experience that is prior to the fashioning of theological ideas, and that whatever is tui genera in religious experience is to be sought, not in the affective and conatdonal elements which such experience contains, but in the ideas which are employed to colligate them and to assign them a causal explanation. From this view it follows that theology involves dogma or metaphysics ; and it is the tenability of such metaphyaic with which philosophy of religion should be primarily, if not solely, concerned. The author further recognises that in this cognitional aspect, theology is a matter of belief, not of knowledge : of probability, not of implication or demonstrability. And, in this connexion, he might perhaps have insisted more plainly that the theist can' afford to make this confession without qualms now that it has come to be generally recognised that all our scientific knowledge of the world presupposes the inductive hypothesis and the venture of faith. The most that can be expected from theism is thus a reasonable ground for its belief, i.e., a basis in such partial knowledge as we think we have : and any philosophy concerned to repudiate theism must be in the same case. Arguing, as I understand him, on these lines, Mr. Matthews proceeds to maintain that theism is to-day a ' live option,' and to compare itsinasonablenesa, as an interpretation of the world, with that of other current alternatives such as absolutism, naturalism and pluralism. Hit examination of these rival options is but cursory ; but if it dismisses them somewhat facilely on that acoountjit at any rate serve* to exhibit clearly the characteristics of theism The same purpose is furthered by the lectures on divine personality and the idea of creation. But the most important link in the chain of theiatio argument, which as a whole one may best describe as cumulatively teleolojncal, is supplied by considerations concerning human morality. Mr. Matthews assigns a prominent position to arguments based on such considerations; but he aims at more than deriving from them additional strength for a cumulative teleology. As I have already offered criticism of these several moral arguments in another review, I will here say no more than that none of the
doi:10.1093/mind/xxxi.122.229 fatcat:4w6xqdi3gzczjfr6flq653esy4